What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Skin

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We already know that sleep deprivation can negatively affect your energy levels, concentration, and moods. But it can also affect your skin—both in ways you can see and ways that you can’t.

“Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your skin,” dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross told The Telegraph. “During the day, your skin is in a protective state, warding off elements such as sun damage or oxidation, whereas at night, your skin goes into repair mode, regenerating new skin cells and cycling oxygen and nutrients,” says Gross.

Some of the most obvious signs of bad sleep are dark circles under your eyes or puffy eyes. “For the most part, dark under-eye circles are the result of lifestyle habits such as smoking, overindulging in alcohol, and not sleeping enough,” Gross said. Read on to learn more about how sleep deprivation impacts your skin.

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Sleep And Skin Health

One study from 2015 evaluated the sleep quality of 60 women aged 30 to 49. Those in the group who were poor sleepers (meaning they got less than five hours of poor-quality sleep for at least one month before the start of the study) showed more clear signs of “intrinsic aging”. These signs were all visible to the human eye and included uneven skin tone, fine lines on their skin, and less elasticity in their skin.

The researchers also tested participants’ skin to see how quickly their skin barrier repaired itself and how long it took their skin to recover from UV erythema (aka sunburn). They found that poor sleepers’ skin repaired itself more slowly and recovered from sunburn more slowly.

“Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure,” researcher Dr. Elma Baron concluded.


There are other ways sleep deprivation can affect your skin. Dermatologists Dr. Lily Talakoub and Dr. Naissan Wesley wrote in an article for Dermatology News, “Sleep deprivation affects wound healing, collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Inflammation is also higher in sleep-deprived patients, causing outbreaks of acne, eczema, psoriasis, and skin allergies.”

According to Talakoub and Wesley, there are treatments that can help resolve some of these issues. But, they concluded, “beauty sleep is both necessary and irreplaceable” to keep your skin as healthy as possible.

RELATED: The Benefits of Getting More Sleep

[Editor’s Note: The content provided on this site is for general informational purposes only. Any information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice. We encourage you to consult with the appropriate health expert if you have concerns.]



Joe Auer

Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site. He likes things simple and takes a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications. When he isn't testing sleep products, he enjoys working out, reading both fiction and non-fiction, and playing classical piano. He enjoys traveling as well, and not just to test out hotel mattresses! Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.